This is the digital translation of a book in Hungarian that I have tried recipes from before. Here is the book reference:
The Prince of Transylvania’s court cookbook
From the 16th century
THE SCIENCE OF COOKING
You can find a copy of it here: http://www.medievalcookery.com/etexts/transylvania-v2.pdf
The recipes I have tried are here: Prince of Transylvania's court cookbook
Today I picked recipe number 804, found on page 154.
Pogácsa from milk.
Pour milk onto the pan, don’t let it boil all the way, put flour into a plate; once the milk is hot, pour it onto a plate, mix it well, don’t add too much, the dough should be dense and big; whip some eggs into a pot afterwards, add salt and pour it onto it, then whip it again; have lots of eggs so that the pogachas will grow and swell. Afterwards, cut these while the dough is warm; don’t add too much milk, there should be more eggs than milk. The butter shouldn’t be too hot, else the upper part could come down.
Obviously I needed to do some interpreting on this! I looked at a variety of modern pogacha recipes, but they all used yeast and this one does not mention it. So I started looking at modern bread recipes that don't use yeast, and cobbled together a basic strategy for making this bread.
My primary guide was from the glossary of the Prince's book (the 7th page of the PDF, not a numbered page in the book):
Pogácsa: a small short cylindrical baked good, similar to the American biscuit (the rolled and cut version as opposed to the drop variety), often with flaky layers.My Redaction
6 cups flour (I used about half bread flour and half all-purpose), divided into 3 cups/3 cups
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
about 3 tablespoons butter, melted
This attempt was rather hit-and-miss, "give it a try and see what happens." In reality, it was quite fun to test my skills and senses. I decided that the butter is not mixed into the dough but brushed over the top of each biscuit before baking.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Heat the milk in the microwave until quite warm but not boiling. I did 1/2 cup increments, each heated for 30 seconds on full power.
3. Add the milk to 3 cups flour. Mix, first by hand and then with the mixer, until it is lumpy and moist.
4. Beat the eggs in a bowl, add the salt, then pour the whole mixture into the bowl with the flour and milk. Stir by hand for a while then let the mixer stir it. It will break up the lumps and become very wet.
5. Mix in the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time so it mixes in and doesn't fly all over the kitchen. I stopped mixing when the dough was sticking to itself more than the bowl.
6. Put a dusting of flour on your work surface and also dust the dough and your hands. Put the dough on the surface and pat it into a mass that is uniformly thick, about 3/4 to 1 inch. That is the depth of my small biscuit cutter.
7. Cut out pogachas and place them on a greased baking sheet. I reshaped the remaining dough as needed until the sheet had enough pogachas on it.
8. Brush melted butter over the top of each pogacha.
9. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until the bottom is light brown and there might be some coloring on the tops or sides. I tried one at 15 minutes but it was still doughy-moist on the inside.
This recipe made about 3 dozen pogachas.
They puffed up slightly and did not spread much. They were a little crispy on the outside. Inside they were denser than yeasted bread but I was surprised that they were not as dense as I thought they might be -- I worried about making small rocks. The crumb was finely textured and there were a few air bubbles inside.
|Right piece is upside down to show the bottom|
When warmed up in the microwave the next day, with a moist towel, they were surprisingly good.
Success! I would try these again some time, but I would play with the mixing procedure to see if I could make them lighter.